2002-S 2697
Enacted 06/25/2002


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Introduced By: Senators Igliozzi, and Walaska

Date Introduced: February 07, 2002

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Title 39 of the General Laws entitled "Public Utilities and Carriers" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:


39-14.1-1. Definitions. -- Terms used in this chapter shall be construed as follows, unless another meaning is expressed or is clearly apparent from the language or context:

(1) "Common carrier" as used in this chapter, means any person engaging in the business of providing transportation services for compensation to passengers through the use of a public motor vehicle as defined in this chapter;

(2) "Division" means the division of public utilities and carriers;

(3) "Driver" means any person operating a motor vehicle used for the transportation of passengers which he or she owns or is operating with the expressed or implied consent of the owner;

(4) "Certificate" means a certificate of operating authority issued to a public motor vehicle;

(5) "Person" means and includes any individual, partnership, corporation, or other association of individuals;

(6) "Public motor vehicle" means and includes every motor vehicle for hire, other than a jitney, as defined in section 39-13-1, or a taxicab or limited public motor vehicle, as defined in section 39-14-1, used for transporting members of the general public for compensation in unmarked vehicles at a predetermined or prearranged rate or fee to such points as may be directed by the passenger. Transportation services provided by charter carriers, as defined in this chapter, or by funeral homes in association with funeral services, and by ambulance companies shall be exempt from this chapter;

(7) "Charter carrier" means a provider of transportation services to groups such as: lodges, bands, athletic teams, schools or other travel groups, assembled by someone other than the carrier who collectively contracts for the exclusive use of certain equipment for the duration of a particular trip or tour. Charter carrier services shall also include transportation services provided by employment agencies or employers to individuals in the context of providing transportation to and from their place of employment;

(8) "Unmarked vehicles" means motor vehicles that do not display the transportation company's name, address or telephone number, or any advertisements or commercial information beyond that included by the vehicle's manufacturer on the vehicle's exterior surfaces.

39-14.1-2. Powers of division. -- Every person owning or operating a motor vehicle engaged as a public motor vehicle is declared a common carrier and subject as such to the jurisdiction of the division of public utilities and carriers. The division may prescribe such rules and regulations as it deems proper to assure adequate, economical, safe, and efficient service. Charter carriers, as defined herein, shall be exempted from the provisions of this chapter.

39-14.1-3. Certificate required for public motor vehicle operation -- Application and fee. - No person shall operate a public motor vehicle in any city or town in the state until the person shall have obtained a certificate from the division certifying that the applicant is fit, willing, and able to provide the services as a public motor vehicle in the transportation of passengers. The certificate shall be issued only after written application for the same, accompanied by a fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and after a public hearing has been conducted thereon. All revenues under this section shall be deposited as general revenues. Certificates issued under this chapter shall be renewed before the close of business on December 31, of each calendar year. The renewal fee shall be one hundred dollars ($100) and shall be submitted with the renewal form. All revenues received under this section shall be deposited as general revenues.

39-14.1-4. Hearing on application. -- Upon receipt of an application, the division shall within a reasonable time, fix the time and place for the hearing. Notice of the hearing shall be given by first class mail to the applicant and shall be published in a newspaper with statewide distribution.

39-14.1-5. Safety and sanitary condition of vehicles -- Inspection. - The division of motor vehicles shall have jurisdiction over the lighting, equipment, safety, and sanitary condition of all public motor vehicles and shall cause an inspection thereof to be made before registering the same, and from time to time thereafter, as it shall deem necessary for the convenience, protection and safety of passengers and of the public. A fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) shall be paid to the division of motor vehicles for each annual inspection.

39-14.1-6. Operations of public motor vehicles. -- No public motor vehicle shall be operated from any taxicab stand on any public highway; nor shall the operator thereof transport any passenger for hire unless the transportation is requested by the passenger at an office of the owner of the vehicle, either personally or by telephone and/or other electronic means. When solicited by a prospective customer the certificate holder, or its representative, shall quote what the actual rate or fee for the requested transportation service will be prior to picking up the passenger(s).

39-14.1-7. Proof of financial responsibility. -- The owner of any public motor vehicle, operating under this section, shall file with the division of public utilities and carriers a certificate of insurance issued by an insurance company authorized to transact business in this state, showing that the owner has a policy insuring the public motor vehicle company against liability for injury to persons and damage to property which may be caused by the operation of the public motor vehicle, such policy to provide for the indemnity in the sum of not less than one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) for personal injury and indemnity of not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for damage to property.

39-14.1-8. Licensing of operators. -- No person shall operate a public motor vehicle upon the public highways until the person shall have first obtained an operator's license as provided for in chapter 10 of title 31. Further, no person shall operate a public motor vehicle upon the highways until the person shall have first obtained a special license from the division of public utilities and carriers under such rules and regulations as the division of public utilities and carriers shall require.

39-14.1-9. Penalty for violations. -- (a) Any person, firm or corporation, subject to the provisions of this chapter and/or any rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, who shall knowingly or willfully cause to be done any act prohibited by this chapter, or who shall be guilty of any violation of this chapter or the rules and regulations shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; and shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one (1) year, or both for each offense.

(b) The administrator may in his or her discretion in lieu of seeking criminal sanctions, and/or in lieu of revoking or suspending the carrier's operating authority as conferred under this chapter, impose upon its regulated common carriers an administrative civil penalty (fine). Said fine shall not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) per each violation of the sections contained in this chapter or the division's rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

39-14.1-10. Certification of business previously established. -- The business of operating any public motor vehicle heretofore not subject to regulation shall now be subject to the provisions of this chapter. However, businesses that have been providing continuous transportation services akin to the public motor vehicle services defined and described in this chapter since January 1, 2002, shall have ninety (90) days from the passage of this legislation to file a relevant application with the division. Such businesses may continue to operate without a certificate during the aforementioned ninety (90) day period and through the period of time required by the division to issue a final decision on the application.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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